Egypt: Greenhouse complex to function as training center

Dutch company Debets Schalke from Monster is finalizing the development of a high tech greenhouse complex on the outskirts of the Egyptian capital Cairo. The complex will also function as a training center. The official opening is scheduled for May 2018.

The building scene in Egypt. A team of Agrikol is currently working together with local Egyptian people on the building of the greenhouse and the inside equipment, providing supervisors and specialized labour. Thanks to the various shifts, the project nears completion in just a couple of weeks.

Boost food production
Joost Geijer from the Agricultural Council expects that Dutch horticulture business will give a huge boost to food production in Egypt in the coming years. The new greenhouse complex in Cairo - 'The city farm of Cairo' – can thereby act as a driving force. "The Egyptian government sees the Netherlands as a guiding country for the agricultural sector. Many agro food companies are already active in the country. I expect their activities to grow. There is a lot of perspective here, especially in the area of high tech agriculture."

Close to the airport
The Egyptian government wants to develop 40,000 hectares of covered cultivation in the densely populated northern part of the country. The new greenhouse complex near the international airport of Cairo is preceding this development. The first 1.5 hectares of the complex is led by a Dutch manager and was officially opened by Egyptian President El-Sisi a year ago.

According to Joost, El-Sisi was impressed by the complex at the opening. "On the spot he decided to expand the greenhouse complex by another 5 hectares. Subsequently Debets Schalke won the tender for the project and signed a contract."

Peppers and tomatoes
The first greenhouse has now been in production for a year. Sweet peppers and (snack) tomatoes are cultivated here. The products are sold on the local market. In the future, a large part of the production will come on the market in the Netherlands.

Covered cultivation leads to a huge reduction in the use of water. The use of water per kilo of tomato is 8 liters. Joost: "In open field cultivation, the use of water per kilo is 300 liters. The efficient use of water in high tech greenhouses is the main reason for the Egyptian government to fully commit to covered cultivation."

Dutch suppliers
In the development of the City farm of Cairo, only Dutch suppliers are involved, including Debets Schalke. Joost: "Except for the glass, everything is of Dutch origin. This indicates that the principal has confidence in entrepreneurs from the Dutch business community."

The population of Egypt will grow by 50 million to 150 million inhabitants in the next 20 years. This has major consequences for food security in the country. In addition, the supply of water may decrease. The cause for that is the construction of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in Ethiopia. As a result, the irrigated agricultural acreage in Sudan will increase significantly and probably less water will be available for Egypt.

Joost: "Efficient water use in the production of food is essential, so covered cultivation is high on the agenda for Egypt. The government is fully committed to greenhouses, both in the urban areas and in the desert region."

Source: Agroberichten Buitenland

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